Photo: Eric Fredericks/Flickr
The number of existing homes changing hands last month declined as many of the country’s local markets continue to struggle with low inventory.
But while fewer homes were sold, they moved at their fastest pace on record, according to a newly released report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
The total number of existing homes sold in April fell 2.3 percent from the previous month to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.57 million.
Existing home sales include single-family homes, townhomes, condos and co-ops.
April’s sales total was still up 1.6 percent from last year, says NAR’s data. Most of the country recorded a monthly decline in existing-home sales in April, except for the Midwest which recorded a gain of nearly 4 percent on a month-over-month basis.
“Last month’s dip in closings was somewhat expected given that there was such a strong sales increase in March at 4.2 percent, and new and existing inventory is not keeping up with the fast pace homes are coming off the market,” says NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.
The national inventory shortage isn’t enough to sate demand and is keeping many prospective homebuyers on the sidelines..
While the number of existing homes for sale rose 7.2 percent from the previous month to 1.93 million in April, listings were down 9 percent from a year earlier.
The supply of unsold homes in the US sunk to 4.2 months in April, down from 4.6 months in April 2016. This measure estimates how long it would take for all unsold inventory to sell out if the current pace of sales activity persists and no new listings came on the market.
The lack of homes for sale is proving frustrating for both realtors and homebuyers.
“Homes in the lower- and mid-market price range are hard to find in most markets, and when one is listed for sale, interest is immediate and multiple offers are nudging the eventual sales prices higher,” says NAR’s Yun.
Homes were on the market an average of 29 days in April, which surpassed May 2016 as the shortest timeframe since NAR began tracking this in 2011. That’s down five days from March and 10 days from a year ago.
Some 52 percent of all existing homes sold last month were on the market for less than a month, a new record high.
Homes were on the market the shortest length of time in four of the West Coast’s hottest metro areas: San Jose, CA (23 days), San Francisco, CA (25 days), Denver, CO (27 days), and Seattle, WA (28 days).
Meanwhile, existing-home prices rose for the 62nd consecutive month in April. Median home prices were up 6 percent annually to $244,8000.
“Home buying demand is incredibly high, and the supply of homes to buy is incredibly low, which serves to push prices up and only piles on the frustration for buyers struggling to find an appropriate home at the right price,” adds Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell in a separate digital release.
Click here to read the entire report.